Comic 27 - Chapter 4 - 7

30th Jan 2021, 8:16 AM in Chapter 4: Trapped

The house had too many doors, and not all of them led someplace sane, or to the same place every time for that matter. Anton would sometimes go from room to room, searching for -- he couldn't say what. Crates full of broken toys in a dusty closet. Jars of pickled goodies on the shelves in a narrow balcony, from which only the backs of other houses could be seen. A master bedroom occupied in its entirety by a magnificent bed: always made, never used. Only the boy's room stayed in one place and changed contents instead. One day it was rows of books stuffed into every nook and cranny, so many that they dimmed the lights. The next, an old radio with non-working knobs that would murmur soothing melodies of its own accord.

The Caretaker had returned home early to slide quietly along the twisted corridor connecting the various parts of the house. That meant he was troubled. In the end, Anton's curiosity got the better of him.

"What's wrong?" he called, the words ringing hollow between the walls.

His dark mentor spun slowly around. There didn't seem to be anything under his hood and duster. A low growl came out of that nothingness. Then he stepped into a beam of light.

"A street attacked me today. Never heard of anything like it before."

He sounded tired, puzzled and frustrated. Anton thought of something to say, then the entrance door slammed and they raced each other down the stairs to see who it was.

Y. stood tensely in the middle of the living room.

"Anne hasn't returned from the school,", she said abruptly. "I stopped by on the way here. Mrs. Varga is gone as well."

"Maybe they went home together. Old people need help with everything."

She shook her head. "There was no trace of them leaving."

"You can't sniff out everything," the Caretaker reminded her gently. He sighed. "Tell you what, let's go look again together."

She spun on her heels and started for the door. Anton moved to follow.

"Not you." The Caretaker placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. "Sorry, but I need you to stay behind this time. If Anne is in trouble, she may try to come here."

"But..."

"It's not like I'm going alone."

Anton watched from the window long after the two Reapers had turned a corner. Then he wandered around the ground floor, flipping the light switches that cropped up in every corner at dusk. Most of them didn't work, and those that did helped little: the lightbulbs were invariably underpowered. It wasn't doing his mood any good.

Only when lightning flashed outside did the boy realize how late it was. He looked out the window again: the sky was clear. A suspicion made him step out. The flashes were coming from the ground. And he was pretty sure that way was the school.

Anton ran as fast as he could through the onsetting gloom.

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